After the Storm

As those along the east coast struggle to deal with the aftermath caused by Sandy, the rest of us look in wonder at the devastation caused by the storm. Massive flooding, buildings damaged or destroyed, cars floating upside down, trees toppled, and electricity out to millions. Our hearts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones in the storm or are now temporarily homeless.

Unfortunately, the road to recovery can be a bumpy one. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has some great disaster survivor assistance tips on their website. Here are some things to consider:

  • Meet immediate needs first: this includes medical assistance, clean water, food, and shelter. You can search for open shelters by texting: SHELTER and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA). Ex: Shelter 01234 (standard rates apply) | Red Cross shelters
  • Don’t forget to contact your employer, let them know of your situation, and find out whether the office is open (or when it will be).
  • Many mortgage companies only require flood insurance if your home is located in an area prone to flooding. Unfortunately, homeowners’ policies do not normally cover flood damage. A separate policy is required. If you are not covered, check the FEMA website for government assistance programs that may provide temporary housing or assist you in paying for repairs.
  • If your car was flooded, the insurance company may “total” it and give you a check for the damages. Used car buyers – even those in states other than those impacted by Sandy – should be aware that sometimes these flood-damaged vehicles can end up being sold. Request proof that the car does not have flood damage (or have it checked by your mechanic before buying).
  • There are always those out to make a buck off of other people’s troubles.  Check references for any company you hire to do repairs. You will also want to make sure they carry their own insurance. Your local Better Business Bureau is the best place to start.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
  • If you can pay with a credit card, do so. There are some extra protections built in with regards to products or services that are billed but not provided (check the terms of your card).

Remember, your family’s health and safety comes first.  Be patient as government and private agencies and assistance groups work as quickly as they can to meet the needs of those affected.

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